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Oil Light Flashing in Car When Driving

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Oil light on car flashing when driving is a result of low oil pressure. The reason is low engine oil, using wrong viscosity engine oil or, partly clogged oil pan.

When the ignition switch is turned to the ON position, these dashboard warning lights will be lit and the engine oil pressure will be checked. After the engine has started, this indicator light will go off. However, if the oil light in the car is lit then there is a problem.

Oil light flashing when driving is possibly a result of low oil pressure, the reason the engine oil pressure becomes low is that the engine lack oil. However, the use of the wrong viscosity engine oil will also result in the oil light blinking on and off other reasons are the oil pan is partly clogged, or a faulty oil pressure sensor.

Why is an oil light flashing in the car?

(1) The Engine Oil Level is Low.
(2) Wrong oil viscosity is used.
(3) Partly clogged oil pan or failing oil pump.
(4) Faulty oil pressure switch/sensor.

Car Troubleshooting

Engine oil level is low

•The oil light is flashing when driving.

It is common that when the oil light on the car is flashing while driving, it means that the engine lack oil, with that, said the first thing to do is to check how much oil the engine had. To do that, park the car in a safe area, stop the engine and wait for a few minutes for the oil to settle before checking the oil level. Open the hood then locate the dipstick, if you are not familiar with where the dipstick is, check on the car owner's manual (all cars when bought on the dealer always come with an owner's manual).

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Check the reading in the dipstick. On the owner’s manual see how to read oil level dipstick, the recommended amount of oil according to the dipstick reading is also indicated. If the oil is not enough, then the reason the oil light flashing is the lack of engine oil inside the engine. When when the engine lacks oil, the oil pressure will temporarily drop, and the oil light flickers or will start blinking on and off.

How to Read Oil Level Dipstick

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What to do?
When the oil level is low, add some oil to the engine this will stop the oil light flashing, do not overfill the engine with oil because it can cause a problem. Verify your car owner’s manual for the exact amount of oil the engine is required.

What happens if you overfill oil?

When oil is overfilled, it is stirred in the oil pan and bubbles are generated. Therefore, the following malfunctions may occur.

(1) Bubbles spillover from the oil level gauge.
(2) The oil pump cannot suck enough oil, and this causes the engine to seize up.
(3) Oxidation of oil is accelerated.
(4) The oil burns and generates white smoke.

Now, the real problem here is why did the engine lack oil?
Normally, the reason for this is there is an oil leak via the piston ring from the oil pan, there is an oil leak via the valve guides from the cylinder head. there is leakage from various areas or there is suction through the blow-by hose.

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With all that mentioned, oil leakage via the piston ring or via the valve guides means that the oil gets into the combustion chamber. The oil burns and white smoke is discharged. The result is that oil consumption increases.

Oil leakage via the valve guide is likely to occur during deceleration. Because the intake manifold will be in high negative pressure, the oil is easily drawn through the valve oil seal and guide.

Oil leakage via the piston rings is caused by the wear of the cylinder wall and piston rings. The thrust of the piston that is produced during acceleration makes the piston decline to one side, with the result that the oil easily gets into the combustion chamber.

But, for any reason just bring your car to a car repair shop and ask the mechanic to check why the engine lack oil.

Wrong viscosity of the oil is used or the oil is old or degraded

• The oil light is flashing only when the engine is hot when driving.

The flashing oil light happens when the engine is hot because the oil inside the engine becomes thin and when the oil is thin the oil pressure inside the engine will be reduced which in turn triggers the oil light flashing. An oil with a low viscosity means that the oil is thin, viscosity is the thickness of the oil, the higher the viscosity rating the more resistance the oil will be when the engine operating temperature is high which also means that oil has more resistance to thinning.

Same as when the oil is degraded because the oil is used for a long time, when the oil is used for a long time it has a tendency to thin quickly when the engine temperature is high.

Change the engine oil of your car. When changing oil ensures that the oil to be used has the right viscosity intended for your car engine. Usually, the correct type of oil can be seen on the car owner’s manual.

The oil pan is partly clogged or failing oil pump

• The oil light is flashing when driving.

When the oil pan is partly clogged, the amount of oil going to the engine is not enough to lubricate the engine. The oil pressure inside the engine will become low, this will trigger the oil light flashing when driving, the same when the oil pump is failing

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The oil pump draws oil from the oil pan passing through the screen going into the engine to lubricate the engine, as the engine runs faster the pump also operates faster. During idling when the oil warning lights flicker it means that oil that going into the engine is not enough making the oil pressure inside the engine drop which happens only when the oil pan screen is clogged or when the oil pump is failing.

Perform change oil on in your car, usually, it will clean the oil pan screen. If the oil warning lights flickering still occur the next thing to do is to have the mechanic check the oil pump if it is failing.

Faulty oil pressure switch or its wiring is bad or loose

• The oil light is flashing only when the engine is hot, while idle.

If the oil light flashing is random like when the engine is hot and is at idle the oil pressure switch may be faulty. The Oil Pressure switch reads the oil pressure inside the engine when the switch or its wiring is bad the switch will not correctly read the pressure inside the engine thus the oil warning lights will flicker occasionally.

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What to do?
Bring the car to a reputable car shop and ask the mechanic to check the oil pressure sensor including its wiring. Replace the parts if necessary.

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